How ‘Guild Wars 2’ Ups the Ante With Season Finales
When you leave a major city hub in crumbled ruins and suggest that an ancient dragon has awoken beneath the surface at the end of your first season, you get the idea that Guild Wars 2 isn’t afraid to go big with its Living World story. The MMORPG has built a reputation on leaving its players aghast or sitting in stunned silence as the screen fades to black on the latest episode, only to have them fervently rushing to discussion forums to share their reactions with fellow players.
Over the years the developer has been more than capable of achieving that reaction time and time again. We’ve seen the destruction of Lion’s Arch massively destabilise the status quo in Season 1, feared for the lives of our allies after their fleet was decimated entering the heart of the Maguuma Jungle in Season 2 and come face to face with the god Balthazar as he emerges as a new threat in final moments of Season 3. It’s fair to say, there are very few games that do endings quite like Guild Wars 2.
With the Living World updates, ArenaNet has found excellent way to take advantage of the evolving nature of MMOs. Patches and updates can always add more dungeons to venture through or events to participate in, but being a part of a moment that sees the world shift around you permanently is something that sticks in the mind. Whether it’s collaborating with dozens of other players to take down a giant Twisted Marionette superweapon in Lornar’s Pass or fighting together for the city you’ve called home for years – these are the experiences you’ll want to say: I was there.
Even if they say the journey is just as important as the destination, it’s clear that ArenaNet knows season finales are events that get players talking. The hours, weeks or months have all lead up to these single climactic moments that not only have to satisfyingly wrap up the story so far but also hint at what could lie ahead in the future.
The Season 4 finale looks set to continue that trend too while raising the stakes even higher. It seems Aurene’s vision of a disastrous battle has come true, with the dragon apparently left for dead and players scrambling to find a way to stop Kralkatorrik’s influence from spreading further across the land. All in all, things are about as bleak as they ever have been in Guild Wars 2.
But while that may suggest that the end is nigh for the world of Tyria, you can be sure that players will find a way forward in whatever dramatic showdown lies ahead. Quite whether everyone will come out the other side without a few mental and physical scars is another question entirely, though.
And even when this battle is over the march towards Season 5 begins before anyone will be able to take a significant breather. Knowing the skill ArenaNet has for manipulating our emotions, we approach whatever comes next with equal levels of apprehension and excitement, but know that they are more than capable of delivering something spectacular.